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February 24 Update on Faculty Union Negotiations

Contributed by David Maley on 02/24/2017 

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From Senior Vice President Nancy Pringle, Provost Linda Petrosino, and Professor Gwen Seaquist, representatives of the Ithaca College bargaining committee.

The college’s bargaining team met with a federal mediator and SEIU representatives on Tuesday, February 21, and Friday, February 24, for continuing contract negotiations with the bargaining units for our part-time, per-course faculty and full-time contingent faculty.

On February 24, the college made a proposal to the part-time unit to increase compensation by 14.3% over four years, which would bring the rate for teaching a three-credit course from the current $4,200 up to $4,800 in the final year of the agreement. At 6:00 p.m., the union offered a counter proposal seeking an increase of 43-50% over a proposed five-year term.

Regarding negotiations with the full-time contingent faculty unit, the college and the union have tentatively agreed to 11 articles over the two sessions held this week. The college received a response to its proposal on the matter of length of appointments and made a counter proposal. The college also shared a new proposal on compensation and benefits.

Additional sessions with the mediator have been scheduled for March 8, 10, and 15 for both bargaining units. The college believes that every bargaining session is an important step forward in negotiations, and the bargaining team remains hopeful that a resolution will be reached that is in the best interest of its students, faculty, and staff.

The union had previously announced that members of both bargaining units had voted to authorize their leaders to call a strike at some point if they are not satisfied with the progress of negotiations. Because of the possibility of a labor action, the college has been receiving inquiries about the status of the negotiations and the potential impact of a strike on the campus community.

A set of frequently asked questions was created to address common concerns. Additional questions and answers will be added in the event of a strike.

More information about contingent faculty at IC can be found at Ithaca.edu/union.

February 24 Update on Faculty Union Negotiations | 3 Comments |
The following comments are the opinions of the individuals who posted them. They do not necessarily represent the position of Intercom or Ithaca College, and the editors reserve the right to monitor and delete comments that violate College policies.
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February 24 Update on Faculty Union Negotiations Comment from rkaufman on 02/25/2017
As usual, the administration has released information about the bargaining process that contains several misleading or outright false statements. As a member of the Contingent Faculty Union bargaining committee for the past 16 months, I am writing to correct several of the inaccuracies put out by Dave Maley, the College's Media Relations administrator and someone who has never set foot inside the bargaining room:

The administration announces that new bargaining dates have been agreed to by both sides; in fact, the union let the administration know at the end of Friday's session that we have yet to confirm further dates.

The administration claims it met with "SEIU representatives." In fact they met, as they have for the past 16 months, with their faculty. While it's always fashionable for those in charge to imply that any grassroots action comes from 'outside agitators' or 'paid protestors' or 'union activists' - or, in this case, 'SEIU representatives' - the people on the bargaining committee, in control of the negotiations, and fighting for better treatment for faculty, are all contingent professors who work at IC and donate our time to this cause.

This week, signatures were obtained by the legal representatives of the administration and the union on 11 proposals pertaining to full-timers that were verbally agreed to last summer. This hardly shows progress in negotiations, since these proposals were already agreed to seven months ago. In fact, full-time contingent faculty and administration came to 18 verbal tentative agreements last summer and both sides have been proceeding since then with the understanding that the issues represented by those agreements are fully resolved, with only typos and other clerical matters remaining to be addressed. What was accomplished this week with the full-time union was the redressing of an overlooked clerical matter on issues that were already resolved seven months ago, which the administration is now seeking to spin into "progress" in negotiations to create a misleading narrative of events for the campus community.

The administration also seems interested in timeliness in their update. So are we. With all active proposals in their court at the beginning of bargaining on Feb 24, the administration didn't offer a counter until 1.5 hours into the session, which means that 1.5 unpaid hours of the union bargaining committee’s time (all of us contingent faculty) were spent waiting. Instead of doing their homework in a timely manner and showing up to bargaining prepared, the administration chose to waste our time. Assuming Pete Jones, the administration's outside counsel, is being paid according to market rates, IC paid him more this week (even for just showing up to bargaining) than I am paid to teach an entire full-semester ICC course. The campus community should take note of the fact that, when administration shows up to bargaining unprepared, as they have done several times over the past 16 months, they are wasting the College's money in amounts that are not negligible.

The bottom line is that the administration is spinning a false narrative to try to convince the campus community that progress is being made at the table. The reality is that the administration's proposals continue to stubbornly cling to an untenable status quo. We would love to see the administration stop wasting our unpaid time, Pete Jones's very costly time, and the campus community's time and money, by settling a contract that provides basic job security and fair pay for IC faculty, a settlement that would cost only 0.3% of the IC budget (total over 5 years) and that would position IC as a national leader in higher education.
February 24 Update on Faculty Union Negotiations Comment from abarlas on 02/26/2017
Contingent Colleagues,

It's a shame to see your energies being depleted in this way: by having to shoulder the responsibility of correcting one false claim after another. But, as you surely must have realized by now, this is, above all, a psy-war. Fake news has always been part of such wars and it has certainly been one of the present administration's favored ways of dealing with dissent.
February 24 Update on Faculty Union Negotiations Comment from tschneller on 02/26/2017
Thank you, Asma, for your words of support, and for so concisely delineating what is really going on here. If anyone on this campus still thinks the administration provides truthful and objective information in its so-called "updates"on the negotiations, I would urge you to adopt a more skeptical stance. The admin has been playing a shell game with information from the start of the negotiations. Spinning the truth into alternative facts may be a fashionable tool of those in power these days, but it is depressing to see this college employ Trumpian tactics against its own faculty.